B2 First: word formation (nouns with -ion)

One of the most common ways to change a verb to a noun is with -ion (e.g. act to action) and -ation (e.g. observe to observation). Sometimes we also change the verb stem as well when we make the noun like this (e.g. explain to explanation). The table below shows common nouns in which the spelling of the verb stem changes.


Look at the information in the table for a few minutes and try to remember the words. Then click below to hide the information and try to answer the questions at the bottom.


NounVerbAdjective
application apply applicable
permission permit permissable
solution solve unsolved
description describe descriptive
intention intend unintended
competition compete competitive
decision decide decisive
explanation explain unexplained
production produce productive
repetition repeat repetitive
consumption comsume consumable
qualification qualify qualified


Practice 1: word formation (use of English part 3)

Write the correct noun form of the word in brackets to complete these sentences. Some of the answers are irregular (from the table above), but there are other regular -ion nouns included here. Don't forget to use an -s if necessary.

  1. Please send a photograph with your CV and form. (APPLY)
  2. You need to make a today. (DECIDE)
  3. Her of the grammar was very unclear. (EXPLAIN)
  4. We had a long about our problems. (DISCUSS)
  5. Students must have a parent's  to come on the trip. (PERMIT)
  6. He is still in hospital, recovering from his . (OPERATE)


Practice 2: more word formation

  1. I entered a bowling . (COMPETE)
  2. My children never show for anything I do! (APPRECIATE)
  3. I can't come up with a to this problem. (SOLVE)
  4. The of junk food has increased over the last 20 years. (CONSUME)
  5. You need a lot of for this job. (QUALIFY)
  6. When I lived abroad, I found the from my family very difficult. (SEPARATE)


Practice 3: even more word formation

  1. The of the new flats is nearly finished. (CONSTRUCT)
  2. We don't want a of the violence at last year's football match. (REPEAT)
  3. The police are conducting an into the murder. (INVESTIGATE)
  4. I gave the police a of the thief. (DESCRIBE)
  5. It wasn't my to offend you. (INTEND)
  6. We are making for the wedding. (PREPARE)
  7. I've just had a very interesting with your sister. (CONVERSE)
  8. You can try our product for free, with no to buy it. (OBLIGE)